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Clark Deplores Complacent Age As Major Danger to Democracy


The United States is in "deadly peril" of being forced under by "despotic dictatorship, as so many decadent democracies have been in the past," Senator Joseph S. Clark, Jr. '23 told the Harvard Young Democrats in Emerson Hall last night.

Speaking to a crowd of over 100 Harvard, Radcliffe and Wellesley students, the Pennsylvania Democrat voiced deep concern over the "age of complacency" which, he said, has prevailed in the U.S. since 1953.

Clark pointed to the historical examples of both the ancient Athenian and the modern Western European democracies, which "grew soft" and were consequently taken over by foreign dictators. America cannot afford to maintain this "complacency," he said.

The senator also elaborated on the future of the Democratic party and the difficulties which face liberal Democrats. He called the civil rights question the major threat to party unity and admitted that the party is split over the issue.

Nevertheless, he seemed quite certain that the liberal Democrats in the Senate would again push for an end to the filibuster rule, if not next year, then certainly in 1959. He also saw a strong possibility that an attempt would be made in the next session of Congress to pass another civil rights bill, one which would extend the present law to cover all phases of civil rights.

Liberals can make their voices felt only at the national level, the Senator stated, and he was confident that the party would nominate a liberal in 1960.

Clark only mentioned the name of Senator John F. Kennedy '41 of Massachusetts as a possibility. He admitted that the nomination of a liberal might cause the Southern Democrats to "bolt the party," but added, "There are a lot worse things than being split." He concluded, "We have to take a good, strong position on civil rights in 1960."

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